Skripal poisoning might have been planned to justify NATO spending – Russian deputy FM

Moscow does not rule out that the poisoning of former double agent Sergei Skripal in Britain was designed to justify the growing defense spending of NATO, among other reasons, Sputnik quoted Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Aleksandr Grushko as saying Tuesday. Asked at a Valdai Discussion Club event if Russia expected NATO to increase spending over the Skripal case, the diplomat said: “I think that all this was planned, including due to the fact that it would be necessary to explain to the public in the near future where the money is going, because it is colossal spending.” He also said that NATO “has crossed the line when it continued to expand its defense presence at Russia’s borders.” Citing “absurd” NATO statements regarding a readiness for dialogue while expelling Russian diplomats, Grushko said that the next meeting of the Russia-NATO Council cannot be convened under current conditions.